The faces of Angkor

A young Khmer girl holding on to her toddler's sister in front of the Banteay Kdei temple. The intense eye contact with the two young native girls made this my favorite photo of my short trip to Siem Reap.

Cambodia – the land of wonder. This is truly an amazing and wonderful country and I am totally in awe. It’s hard to believe that today, Cambodia is still a backward and under-developed country considering its glorious past. It’s the people that make a Country and not the Country that make the people. Given time and effort I am sure this once great Country could rise again to be the great cradle of civilization that it should have been. Its past glory should be taken as the guiding light to return the country to its rightful place in history – the kingdom of wonder – minus the notorious Khmer Rouge or its infamous Killing Fields.

Below I am embarking on a journey with a photo essay on the faces of Angkor and I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

A boy hopping along a dusty laterite road leading to the Ta Prohm temple. His parent is working nearby, upgrading the dusty road for the convenience of the tourists.

A group of Apsara-like dancers in front of the Bayon temple.

A young Khmer girl selling her intricately carved wooden bracelet. You could purchase them at most of the more popular temples. It is usually sold for 1USD for 3 or 4 bracelets.

A young friend posing in front of the Leper King Terrace. Seen here are the base of the elephant trunks that made up the monument at Angkor Thom.

A caretaker sitting next to the seated Buddha at the Gopura III E @ Banteay Kdei temple.

A hidden statue of Buddha nearly swallowed by the growing tree trunk @ Ta Prohm temple.

Nicely carved stones depicting the daily life of ancient Khmer's society.

Alternating garudas and lion-headed figures @ Elephant Terrace.

A mother and daughter raiding a motorcycle - the main mode of transport in Cambodia.

Tourist made up a large percentage of people in Siem Reap. They could be seen everywhere and they use the various mode of transports to get from point A to point B. They also brought in the much needed foreign currency for the upkeep of the local economy.


  1. I just saw your post after doing a search on WordPress for Siem Reap. My husband and I are traveling there at the end of the month. Your photos are beautiful and are really making me look forward to the trip. Thank you. Would love any advice on camera kit you recommend bringing along. I’m trying to keep it light, but it’s near impossible.

    Jess “klutzy chef”

    • Jess,
      Thank you for dropping by. To ‘travel-lite’ it’s sufficient to bring a DSLR with an equivalent lens reach of 24mm to 105mm. I found myself using my Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105mm zoom most of the time to photograph the various Angkor temples, market places, sunset and people going about their daily activities.

      However for sunset photography at Phnom Bakheng I used the 70-200mm lens as there were too many tourists there and if you use a wide angle lens, someone is bound to block your view unless you get a really good spot.

      I also brought along my Nikon D700 with 14-24mm ultra wide angle lens specially to capture the beauty of Ta Prohm temple which was made famous by the “Tomb Raider” movie. Even at 14mm, it’s not wide enough due to the confine spaces and really tall and huge tree roots that colonize some sections of the temple.

      For night shooting in the city and during dinner time (food photography), I only brought along my Canon S90 compact camera which performed really well under low light condition.

      I am used to travel with a couple of camera bodies so it’s normal for me but it may not be your cup of tea. So it really depends on your purpose of your trip and how much load you would like to lug around all day. Remember, if you would like to take sunrise & sunset photos, you would need to bring along a sturdy tripod too. 🙂

      I am sure you and your husband will have a good time there. I am looking forward to revisit Siem Reap again soon.

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